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Poll: Neither Side Winning The NFL Labor PR Battle

Friday, 11 Feb 2011 | 11:55 AM ET

In the public relations battle between NFL owners and the NFL Players Association, no one is winning. That’s according to a poll conducted by media agency Optimum/OMD released exclusively to CNBC.

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The national online survey of 600 fans reveals that 65 percent of fans don’t agree with either side of the dispute and 56 percent of fans say that a work stoppage is evidence of greed.

Tom McGovern, CEO of Optimum/OMD, says that both sides have done a poor job of explaining the issues in detail, but that the general public doesn’t really want to understand the issues behind the negotiations for a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, which expires on March 3.

That’s because, the poll reveals, that fans say it’s the fans more than the players and owners who will be affected by a lockout, even though they believe that the players would be more impacted by the owners from a work stoppage.

Seventy-seven percent of avid fans say that the players will be impacted by a lockout, while 72 percent of avid fans say the owners will feel the hurt.

While the poll helps understand how the public thinks, McGovern says that probably won’t have any bearing on the ultimate result.

“You’d like to think that the fans would make a difference, but the reality is when you talk about the issues, like the 18-game season, what the fans say doesn’t really mean much,” McGovern said.

If a work stoppage occurred, 22 percent said they would watch fewer games and 21 percent expressed that they would consider boycotting the league. McGovern said that he would expect both of those numbers to rise if a deal isn’t struck soon.

If there is a work stoppage, 27 percent of NFL fans said they would turn to college football, though McGovern noted that the same couldn’t be said for advertisers since college football time slots are normally sold out by the beginning of the season.

Questions? Comments? SportsBiz@cnbc.com

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